Kaldheim Set Review – White

(Halvar, God of Battle | Art by Lie Setiawan)

Let The Reviews Begin!

Hello, EDHREC readers!

We’re kicking off Kaldheim Set Review Week™ with white because we’re firm believers in both the WUBRG order and also in saving the best for last. Is white going to be the worst color in Commander forever? Probably not; in fact, I think a major overcorrection is going to be coming any day now. Are the white cards in Kaldheim hot garbage? Also no. There are some fun cards, there are some powerful cards, and there are some interesting cards. Kaldheim is a cold, wind-blasted land where red has counterspells, blue has a better new Path to Exile card than white does, and white got Show and Tell, only it’s just for your opponent. If you like Equipment and Angels, you’re going to love the white cards of Kaldheim. If you don’t, there’s a chance that I’m going to say something super incorrect about one of these cards and that’ll be funny later, so you might as well come along with me on this journey.


Mythics


Halvar, God of Battle

If you ever wondered what the opposite of Elbrus, the Binding Blade was, here’s how it would look. The creature side would be face-up so you could use it as your commander, it would be white, feature fewer Demons, and would likely be Equipment-focused. Halvar brings all of this and more to the table: Halvar can move Equipment and Auras for free, which is powerful, considering it’s very difficult to move Auras ordinarily. The real upside here, I feel, is that Halvar gives creatures you control that are Equipped or enchanted double strike, which is huge.

Is Halvar the best commander of his ilk? I think Sram is still probably the way to go, considering the raw card advantage that Sram generates. Halvar is fun in the 99 of a lot of decks, but I think a solid case could be made for building around Halvar, if only to see how it goes. A four-mana 4/4 in the command zone that can give himself double strike could end a game fairly quickly, and the versatility of having a decent piece of Equipment on the back could make Halvar a fun deck to throw hands with.

While I’m on the subject, Sword of the Realms is a non-trivial piece of Equipment. White can sometimes struggle with card advantage, and getting to recycle a slain creature is one way to mitigate that. I don’t know if it has the combo potential of a card like Nim Deathmantle, but I do think it’s a decent insurance policy against a lot of removal, and it could help you re-buy ETB triggers. Equipment decks might even use Halvar in the 99 just for his back half. I think Halvar is pretty solid, and while ‘pretty solid’ isn’t always good enough for a spot in the 99 or at the helm of a new deck, those who do try Halvar out could have some really strong turns.

Look, I promise not to spend so much ink on every card in the set; I can see some of your eyes are glazing over. I am going to at least mention every card, because if I ignore something, it seems like I didn’t think about it at all, whereas if I write a brief sentence or two, I can damn the cards I don’t like with some faint praise. Halvar is at least interesting. In fact, all of the white mythic rares are.


Resplendent Marshal

If you’re not a long-time user of EDHREC, or I guess even if you are, you might benefit from a glimpse into the thought process behind my evaluation of this card. The first thing I did when I saw that Resplendent Marshal gave tribal bonuses was to look at the tribes in Mono-White.

At the top of the page, click “commanders” and select “mono” and “white” from the next part of the drop-down. It will bring up a list of the top mono-white commanders along with a list of “related info”, which is what we’re interested in.

It may not shock you to learn (or have confirmed) that the top mono-white tribe is Angels. Angels are crushing the next-most-built tribe, Soldiers, by about three to one. Kaldheim is giving us more support for an Angel tribal deck, showing us a ton of decks that want to jam Resplendent Marshal. Lyra, Dawnbringer, Avacyn, Angel of Hope, and Sephara, Sky’s Blade are all excellent candidates for Marshal, but even a deck like Kaalia of the Vast likely wants this as a way to turn a dead Angel into more damage. I personally think this helps “go wide” decks more than “go tall” decks, and there are plenty of good Soldier commanders, like Darien, King of Kjeldor and Odric, Master Tactician, that could use Marshal. There are obviously multicolored commanders that run Angels and Soldiers, but looking at the decklists of the mono-white ones could help you figure out what to include alongside Resplendent Marshal. A 3/3 for three with flying and triggers both on ETB and death? This is a solid, versatile card that everyone is probably underrating because it’s easy to figure out what to add it to but not easy to figure out what to subtract from the deck it’s in.

If I had to guess, I’d say mono-white might not be the best landing spot for this because green has all of the good cards that double the number of +1/+1 counters you put on something. This is likely better in Jenara, Asura of War or Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice or Hamza, Guardian of Arashin than some random Soldier deck. Have fun with it; blinking this in an Abzan deck likely gets you a ton of value, as does letting it die and bringing it back. I imagine this seems some amount of play, which is why I devoted so much ink to it.

I can afford to gush about a few mythic rares, because there’s not much to say about the rest.


Starnheim Unleashed

Is Starnheim Unleashed better or worse than Decree of Justice in the average deck? I am inclined to say it’s better since you always get at least one Angel out of it, but I don’t really play Decree, either. I don’t think this is a bad card, per se, but I also think it’s a little bit fair, and fair doesn’t always scale up well in Commander. A 4/4 for four with upside is pretty decent in 60-card Magic, but I’m not sure I want to include this in a 100-card deck. Of course, decks that Populate and double creature tokens, like Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, will love this, and the fact that it’s very good when drawn late in a way that a simple 4/4 for four is not means this could see some play. I’m neither overwhelmed or underwhelmed by this card; I am exactly whelmed by this card. It’s likely a bulk mythic unless I have misjudged its usefulness in Standard (something I do a lot), and that’s good news for anyone who wants it.


Rares


Doomskar

There are a lot of Wrath of God variants out there, and a lot of them cost more than the four mana you are expected to pay for Wrath or Day of Judgment, something they make up for by having some upside. Do you cut a modal sweeper like Austere Command for this? An indestructible solution like Hallowed Burial? A potential life infusion like Fumigate? This doesn’t seem like a card for Commander, although I expect it to see a non-zero amount of play, if only because Commander is still a “cards I own” format. I think there are a lot of sweepers that are better, and with basically nothing in the set or the Commander precon to really reward you for Foretelling this, it’s tough to justify its inclusion when you could be exiling the creatures or getting some other benefit. Putting some of the mana cost on layaway isn’t doing it for me.


Reidane, God of the Worthy

Another double-faced card, Reidane was the one Snow-hoser touted by Mark Rosewater in a set that doesn’t do enough to offset the Snow strategies that it’s encouraging. As far as hate bears go, Reidane is fairly medium. It would be tough to give up the versatility of a commander like Gaddock Teeg to hose Snow players a tiny bit, so it’s unclear that Reidane has a home outside of maybe Standard sideboards. But EDHREC isn’t here to tell you not to play certain commanders, we’re here to tell you how to play certain commanders should you elect to play certain commanders. One thing that might be fun is casting Humility coupled with the back half of Reidane (Valkmira, Protector’s Shield) to make it so their creatures can’t hurt you. Can you win the game without creatures? Find a way to do it that doesn’t take a million turns, and you have yourself a neat little combo. I think Reidane has a better chance of being included in the 99 than in the command zone, but I don’t think either chance is very good.


Glorious Protector

Protector can save your side (minus your Angels) from a board wipe, can set you up to stack a ton of ETB triggers, or can set up an infinite loop with Fiend Hunter that either stalls the game or kills the table with Impact Tremors. Part Restoration Angel, part Angel of Serenity, all ready to join both of those cards in the new precon. I think this is a little clunky to use as a combo-enabler, but if you’re already a blink deck, chances are you’re all set with a way to blink her, which lets the whole team ETB, and then she returns to play and reloads. It could be a card that allows you to blink your whole team in and out with a blink spell that only targets her. Lumbering Battlement sees negligible play, but it didn’t have instant-speed abilities. I’m sure there will be some shenanigans with this card, and I welcome it. I think this has real potential, and I like it quite a bit.


Rally the Ranks

I feel like there are so many Anthem effects out there, one whose only advantage over the others is its low mana cost isn’t that appealing. It’s more narrow than almost all of the existing ones, as well. I don’t see a reason to play this in 100-card decks, unless you’re Anthem tribal and you’re playing all of them.


Righteous Valkyrie

If we’re going to play super narrow, tribal Anthems, this one is better. It’s tough to get going if the table considers your sinister scheme to gain life a sufficient threat and decides to dogpile you, but if you manage to start adding to your life total, you can significantly buff your creatures. If you have a lot of creatures with lifelink, you could find yourself closing out the game quickly. This is obviously better with Angels and Clerics, but if you have other ways to gain life, you don’t need to limit yourself to those creature types. Decks like Edgar Markov, Liesa, Shroud of Dusk, and Karlov of the Ghost Council are robust enough at gaining life that this can just be an Anthem in those decks. Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim and Orah, Skyclave Hierophant, among others, might like a way to gain a little more life since they’re going to cast a lot of Clerics. I think this is a fine enough card to include, but it may end up as card #102 a lot. What do you cut for something that does two things kind of okay when your whole deck is full of cards that do either thing better?


Runeforge Champion

This was a card that made me watch the entire set closely during preview season to see how much Rune support there was. The Runes are, as I had feared, basically Cartouches (ex: Cartouche of Zeal). We don’t need a Cartouche Lord. There are plenty of cards that would already reduce the cost of a Rune because they’re also Auras, making this a bad version of some pretty medium cards like Hero of Iroas, which is too bad. This card had potential, I suppose, but the whole set would have had to have had (say that 5 times fast) a ton more Rune support than it has. There are so few Rune cards, they could have easily used this white rare spot for a more exciting card. The world needs bulk rares, I guess.


Search For Glory

Search for Glory is an above-average tutor for the right deck, giving you access to a wide array of specific permanent types rather than access to a specific permanent type. If you’re built with a lot of Snow, legendary, and Saga cards, this is a very decent toolbox card. However, it’s tough to beat the versatility and ease of use of a card like Enlightened Tutor. If you’re in mono-white, this is one of a very few ways to get a creature (albeit a legendary one), but if you have access to other colors, you’re probably already running better tutors than this. This is a better Call the Gatewatch, but even that only shows up in a scant ~2,400 decks. I don’t know that there’s enough Snow to build completely around it in a way where this is a great tutor, and I’m pretty medium on this card, but I’d love to be proven wrong.


Sigrid, God-Favored

Do you wish Glorious Protector could exile one of their attackers but couldn’t save more than one of your creatures, and only one that was blocking? There isn’t a lot to say about Sigrid that we didn’t already say about Protector, except Sigrid can be your commander. It doesn’t have the combo potential that Protector has, its uses are far more narrow, and protection from God creatures is hilariously narrow. At the time of this writing, exactly 0 people have registered a Sigrid deck across all of the sites we survey, and that says more than one person’s opinion would, I think. Given time, I imagine people will start to brew with Sigrid and maybe even discover a use for it that I missed. I hope I’m not being unfair, but I suspect I’m not.

Still with me? It’s been a ride, hasn’t it. Got time for some noteworthy uncommons and commons? Too bad, I’m doing it anyway.


Uncommons & Commons


Divine Gambit

This is noteworthy because it is very bad, and it’s in a set where blue basically got a Pongify that can hit artifacts. They could have given white a good card in this slot and opted not to. I really fear an overcorrection is coming.


Starnheim Courser

I think this has some potential. This isn’t flashy, but reducing the cost of Auras and Equipment could potentially add up. In a deck where you’re stringing together a lot of Equipment and Auras with draw triggers to have a big, explosive turn, this could potentially generate a Black Lotus or two worth of mana savings in that turn, making it even bigger and better. I don’t want to overstate how good this is; it’s fine, but I didn’t like any other uncommons or commons in this set.


Kald Me Maybe

That’s all the news that’s fit to print. If you’d like to use the comments section to take umbrage with any of my omissions or characterizations, please feel free, that’s what it’s there for. What do you think is the best white card in the set, and why is it Cosmos Elixir?

Jason is one of the hardest working writers in the game; he has a weekly column on Coolstuff Inc. and MTGPrice and is a cast member of the Brainstorm Brewery and Film Hooligans podcasts. All that and he still finds time to manage content on EDHREC and struggle as a comedian. No wonder he's been called the Ryan Seacrest of EDH.